A weekend at Visakhapatnam #1

An early morning on a Saturday, I woke up and dragged my blanket down. I looked out of the window with somnolent eyes and saw large container cargo ships sailing in the Bay of Bengal. I saw the resplendent sun adding colours to the crepuscular hues. This was the view from a window of the iconic Palm Beach Resort of Visakhapatnam. I went there to relax, have good food, enjoy those views the entire day and spend the rest in the swimming poll. At least that was the plan. But when you are a relentless traveler in a new city, you can hardly confine yourself without going out and exploring !!!

After an excruciating trip of Bodh Gaya in scorching heat of May, I just had to go for a well deserved relaxation trip. A trip to a place where you basically do nothing – no treks, no outdoor visits, no wandering amidst ancient ruins and of course not much travelling. Given that I had decided to quit my job and go for higher education, my next two years were to pass in penury and I could least afford a luxurious trip for relaxation. After lot of deliberation, I decided to visit Visakhapatnam or Vizag in Andhra Pradesh. Vizag seemed to check all the boxes for me – nice weather, comparatively closer, cheaper resorts, cool breeze, beaches and few odd tourist destinations.

Visakhapatnam has something for everyone – a growing commercial conglomerate for businesses, an international port for commerce,  an international stadium for sports, beaches for tourists, Seemanchalam temple for pilgrims, street food for foodies; everything within the confines of a small developing city.

Best time to visit: Winter and early Spring (October-March)

Ideal tour plan: 3D 2N

I booked my train tickets from Bhubaneswar to Vizag (about 6 hours). Next task was to find a good resort and I started browsing through travel apps; incidentally I stumbled upon the iconic Palm Beach resort – a luxurious beach side resort with all amenities I needed at a huge discount of 60%. The decision was made and I was all set for a relaxing weekend.

The day I reached Vizag, Telgu Desham Party, the ruling party of the Andhra Pradesh were having their executive council meet in the city and the city was decked up in the customary yellow colour of the party; yellow flags, posters, hoardings and banners were ubiquitous. We had to find our way through multiple traffic diversions and blockages to reach the Palm Beach Resort. The place was perfect- excellent views, large swimming pool, quality rooms, facilities for candle light dinner, private beach, it had everything. But as I have discovered again and again after paying hefty charges in luxurious hotels, these things don`t interest me much. What I carve for is bona fide travel experiences- expeditions, local foods, local cultures, local lifestyles.

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Couple of hours after that scenic dawn, I had my breakfast and was ready to explore the city. As always, I did some research before coming to Vizag and I had a rough idea of things to visit and their locations. To my surprise, many of them were at a close proximity to my hotel I could stroll around and see them all.

I started with the Visakha Museum which was nearest to my hotel. It appeares to be a navy or maritime museum in the first place but inside there are many other artifacts. There are prototypes of ships, torpedoes and other weapons. There is a collection of various suits that a naval officer wears at different times. There is a good collection of knifes, ship anchors and many more such naval antiques. The valiant story of Indian Navy sinking the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi near the Vizag coast during the 1971 war is delineated in charts and the remains of the annihilated submarine is on display. Outside the museum there is an old battle tank. Nothing much to see here. One may avoid this place if there is a dearth of time.

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Walking ahead along the road, I reached the the Ramakrishna beach. The Dolphin Nose point is clearly visible from here. It is a rock formation with a curved dip at the end which resembles the nose of a dolphin. There are many such points through out the country but this is perhaps the only place where the dip ends into the ocean. In the below photograph you can see a silhouette of the Dolphin nose point.

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Dolphin Nose

The Ramkrishna beach area is lot more happening and boisterous during the evening hours. So we will discuss it at the end. The marine drive road along the Ramkrishna beach has statues of Telegu legends from various fields along with the famous Victory at Sea war memorial commemorating India`s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.IMG_0636

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Victory at Sea war memorial

Walking ahead, in the left side is the INS Kurusura submarine museum. It is a one of its kind museum where a decommissioned submarine has been beached and is converted into a museum. The visitors are taken inside the submarine where they can get a visceral experience of life in a submarine. There are life size mannequins which shows how naval officers sleep, eat and do their jobs inside a submarine. To imagine the life of sailors inside this sealed monster, submerged in the ocean is scary. You can also see a mounted torpedo and other equipment. There are guides to help people understand the details but I personally found them too rude which somewhat spoiled a rather exciting visit. If you ever visit Visakhapatnam you must see this place.

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INS Kurusura
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Life size mannequins

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After visiting the submarine museum, I returned to the hotel and had a nice long sleep. In the evening, I again went to the Ramkrishna beach. As I mentioned earlier, the atmosphere in the evening was much more lively. There were hundreds of people in the beach and in the footpaths along the marine drive road – there were food stalls, ice cream vendors, corn sellers, kids demanding trinkets and balloons, fancy teenagers; overall making it a nice place to hang out and spend the evening. There was also a classical music program being organized on the other side of the road. I spent couple of hours there enjoying the city, its vibrant lifestyle and people.IMG_0876

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I returned to the hotel around PM and had a nice candle light dinner before retiring for the night. The plan for next day was to visit the Kailashgiri hills and the Seemanchalam temple. I have written a separate post on that (link below)

Visakhapatnam #2 : Kailashgiri & Seemanchalam

Hope you had a good time reading this post. Please share your feedback, experiences in the comments section below. Travel and spread Love ❤

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